Monday, 1 September 2008

Enfants Kidnappés 01/09/08: Denise Pipitone - abducted four years ago today.

It's four years.

September 1st 2004

It's the morning of September 1st 2004 in Sicily, in Mazara del Vallo to be exact. The holidays are drawing to a close under the heat of the Sicilian sun and Denise, aged three and a half, is playing outside with her cousins, while her mother, Piera, is on a professional training course, leaving the little girl in the care of her grandmother.

Late morning, "Nonna," calls the children to eat. The cousins go running while Denise follows them, walking, and carrying on quietly with her games.

But Denise never arrives at the lunch table.

She has just been kidnapped.

There are anniversaries that we would wish never to have to celebrate.

There are cursed days, whose recurrence in the calender only crushes you a little more each time.

Today, September 1st, 2008, it is exactly four years.

4 years since Denise Pipitone disappeared, abducted right outside her house in Mazara del Vallo, in Sicily.

4 long years of anxious waiting, of disappointed hopes, of doubts, of sleepless nights, of inability to understand, of tears, of anger, for her family, for her mother.

4 years of nightmares for Piera, where her mind could not stop imagining the worst horrors that a human being is capable of, where time going by, second by second, makes her heart fluctuate between despair, the worst fear, then finally, this hope, unrealistic to be sure, which brings her back up and which becomes an objective and her only reason for living, if she wants to escape from madness.

Piera put on this hope like a coat, armed herself with courage and every day took up her struggle again so that her daughter's face and her daughter's name was not added to the list of the forgotten.

She created an association (Ass. To find Denise Onlus); with her lawyer, she set up a legal project to propose a reform to the archaic law for the protection of minors in Italy: in effect, there was a, "legal gap," concerning the abduction of children not followed by ransom. Abduction was then given no more consideration than the theft of an orange.

She is also a member of an Italian media association, which set up the Charter of Trévise: "The journalists of the Italian press and television adopted a voluntary code of conduct, the Charter of Trévise of November 5th 1990, which obliges them to maintain the anonymity of children charged with or victims of crime by not publishing details which, even indirectly, might lead to their being identified and in the violation of child protection as someone may be upset by publicity of which she was the object, including association with events which were not constituents of offences. (suicides, issues of adoption and family placement) Furthermore, in cases where personal details and photographs are necessary (for example kidnapping or disappearance of children) the Charter invites journalists to obtain the prior consent of parents and the judge responsible for guardianship orders."

But every year, when the holidays gently draw to an end beneath the heat of the Sicilian sun, Piera's heart becomes heavy, and she thinks, as she often does, of Denise's angelic face, of her childish little laugh, of their loving moments. She tries to imagine her daughter, now aged 7 and a half years; she must have changed a lot.

And she wonders, how much longer...

And she cries for her dreadful and unbearable loss.

And she relives with anguish and confusion the day when this tragedy began, the terrible day of Denise's disappearance.

It was September 1st 2004...Exactly 4 years ago.

To find out more about Denise please visit these sites :


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